By Drew Modjeski
Few directors are talented enough that they can instantly capture their audience’s attention, and drag them into the world they created.
Steven Spielberg is one, if not the best, of these directors, and he has done it again with his latest film, “Ready Player One.”
Based on the best selling book by Ernest Cline, “Ready Player One” is set in 2045 where the world is overpopulated. To escape from their everyday problems, people turn to the Oasis, a virtual reality world that allows players to do anything they can think of.
The film follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), also known as Parzival in the Oasis, as he tries to win the Easter egg hunt created by Oasis founder James Holliday as his last game after he died. The first player to find the three keys, and get the Easter egg, wins Holliday’s fortune and complete control of the Oasis.
We follow Parzival as he and his friends try to finish the game before the evil IOI and their leader Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) – who just want to win to monetize the Oasis.
“Ready Player One” has many areas it needed to excel in to create a landmark Spielberg film, but none more important than the creating an enjoyable world for the viewers while the film is inside the Oasis. With a majority of the runtime spent in the Oasis, the whole film would have failed if the Oasis was not created perfectly. Luckily for the viewer, the Oasis is one of the best settings for a Spielberg film since “Jurassic Park” back in 1993.
The visuals effects are stunning and create a perfect feeling of being inside of a video game. The three major action set pieces of the film are set inside the Oasis, and are breathtaking to watch, especially the final battle, as the screen is filled to the brim with action goodness.
Also, the film is packed with references to other characters within the “nerd” world which leads to the audience to constantly freak out over recognizable characters.
However, “Ready Player One” is not without its missteps. The pacing is very fast, and while this helps keep the audience’s attention throughout, it takes away from building out the characters.
Aside from Wade, the film does not spend enough time with the other characters to bond with them. When the film wants us to care about Wade’s clanmates, especially when a chunk of the film is spent with his love interest Art3mis/Samantha (Olivia Cooke), we check out and wait for the next action set piece. The fault should not lay with the actors as all the performances throughout the film are good, but there is just too much going on to create a visceral bond.
Overall, Spielberg delivers another classic action film that will be re-watched for years to come.
Four out of five Torches.